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Talbot Michaels

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UK Pagan

[A Cauldron Full of Stars] Ancestry

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UK Pagan
Have you ever had experiences that left you tonguetied and confused about how you feel or what you think?  I've felt that way since November. I can't decide how I feel or what I think, and so it's difficult to even attempt to write.

Last year, my husband and I took Ancestry DNA tests.  I was hoping to find the ethnic origins of my father's family. My husband took his out of the kids' idle curiosity.  He has no interest in genealogy, while I always have.  Most of my mother's family is pretty well documented.  Mormon and pilgrim families tend to be due to the huge interest in them.  My husband's family is harder to pinppint. They emigrated much later than most of my family and from countries where English is not the lingua franca.  I didn't have very high expectations other than some statistics.

My test results weren't surprising- 86% England, Wales and Northwestern Europe, 9% Ireland and Scotland, and 5% Sweden.  Not much diversity, but lines up the documentation and oral histories.  I had two very close family matches, though. One that I immediately assumed was a half- brother and the other I assumed was a first cousin.  I didn't reach out to them.  As long as I have known that I had a different father than my brothers, I also knew that he had another family, who may or may not know about me.

In November, a volunteer who helps people search for their birth parents reached out to me.  She said was representing a family member and that she had information about my father.  It was shocking.  I had been cleaning house all day and hanging out with my husband.  I checked my email purely because I couldn't remember the details of a calendar event.  I expected to see nothing but junk in my email that day. Suddenly, I was dizzy, elated, scared, sick, confused, and indecisive.  It was one of those moments when it feels like you're outside your body watching everything happen.

The family member turned out to be the daughter of my late half-sister.  I hadn't been a horrible secret after all. Everyone knew about me.  Within a day, I had contact with one of two half-brothers and a niece.  Lots of questions were answered. Lots more came up.

I still feel weird. It's been months, but I haven't yet reached out to my father. I text regularly with my niece. My half-brother e-mails regularly. I'm researching my new family tree (turns out a large chunk of that Northwestern Europe is Scotland) and yet it still feels unreal.  I guess upheavals to our identity can't be settled without a lot of time and work.

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